Week 11

This reading was a little hard to follow because it talked about different countries as opposed to focusing on just one. However, this was also the topic that my group and I did our video project on so I will be focusing mainly on Peru and the rise of Sendero Luminoso.

When I started reading about this terrorist group I had (I’m sorry to say) almost no previous knowledge about it. This is the reason that when I first began to read about them I considered them to be brave and even respected them for being willing to risk their lives in order to give their country a little push towards prosperity. They began as a group of students of humble backgrounds who were simply fed up by what they considered to be an oppressive and unfair government that had cheated them out of their land and rights. However, when I began to learn more about Sendero Luminoso I quickly began to change my mind. While I understand their frustration and even feel that sometimes violence is necessary in order to quickly cause change, I definitely do not agree with the horrible crimes that they committed. Sendero has caused so much damage to the country and the people of Peru. They did not simply act out to who they saw as a threat or as a traitor, but they also murdered innocent people who had no part or say in government decisions. I think that at the very beginning of the creation of Sendero, they did not intend for this to happen. It seemed to me like they had some clear goals in mind and although they did act out in order to achieve them, their early protests were relatively peaceful. I understand why the people of Peru did not support and in fact were terrified of Sendero Luminoso, even though the majority of them also had resentful feeling towards the government.

Similarly, the increasing violence by Sendero Luminoso led the government and military to retaliate, creating an on-going violent cycle. Although the government justified their violent attacks as their way of keeping the guerrillas under control, they also killed many innocent civilians along the way. All this violence caused confusion and fear amongst the people of Peru since they did not know who to trust. It is hard to “choose a side” in situations like these. Both sides truly believe they are right but the crimes that they committed make it difficult to support them even if you believe in what their basic ideologies are. Perhaps if both parties had not resorted to violence, people would have been able to truly choose who to support as opposed to simply running to the lesser of two evils?

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